Earlier this spring, Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust completed the purchase of a 165-acre property on the west side of River Road in Edgecomb, a short distance south of Dodge Point.
This wooded parcel includes a wild field and an orchard bounded by rock walls, wetlands, at least one vernal pool, and a blueberry barren. It is also crisscrossed by streams draining both east into the Damariscotta River and west into the Sheepscot, making the property a point of connection between the two watersheds and buffering water quality in both.
Coastal Rivers was eager to conserve this parcel because of its size and key location along the River-Link wildlife corridor, a contiguous area of protected forest now spanning nearly 1,800 acres.
Conservation at this scale is especially meaningful for wildlife that needs large areas of unfragmented habitat to thrive. Many species of birds, as well large mammals such as moose, bear, and bobcats prefer to live well away from human development.
Another reason for Coastal Rivers’ interest in the property is its importance to the River-Link Trail. This 5.5-mile trail, offering a unique deep-woods hiking experience in the Midcoast, passes through one corner of the new preserve. Now that the land is conserved, access to the trail is permanently protected.
“This is a piece of property we’ve had our eye on for years,” said Coastal Rivers Executive Director Steven Hufnagel, in a news release. “When it came on the market, we had a short time to act. We would not have been able to move ahead with this important purchase without the generous support of Bob and Roberta McLaughlin of Bristol and the Ram Island Conservation Fund of the Maine Community Foundation, who have been involved in the River-Link project since its early days. We’re truly grateful for their partnership over so many years.”
The new preserve has yet to be named, and a management plan for the property is still under development.